Ottawa Art Gallery to reopen in April

The new OAG is seen from Daly Street in this rendering by Régis Côté and associates.

The new Ottawa Art Gallery will reopen April 28.

The first exhibition in the new space will be a massive look at art-making in the Ottawa region going back 6,500 years, featuring 191 pieces, 181 artists and 11 commissions. The show is called Àdisòkàmagan / Nous connaître un peu nous-mêmes / We’ll all become stories. The companion book for the show has been released.

When what is described as a “luminous square cube,” designed by KPMB Architects, opens, the OAG will have five floors and more than 55,000 square feet of programmable space.

The building will fill a city block. The main entrance will be at 50 Mackenzie Bridge with a second entrance on Daly Avenue.

The expansion of the Arts Court site also will include a residential complex and a theatre space to be used by uOttawa. The cost of the entire project is about $100 million, with about $40 million going to the gallery. The city had hoped the project would be completed last fall, but the original thinking was that it would open in the first quarter of 2018.

The gallery itself will have a dedicated space for the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art (FCCA), which includes works by the Group of Seven and other important Canadian artists. It will also have a gallery for the OAG’s collection and other spaces for historical, contemporary and touring exhibitions and special project rooms.

The new building will have pieces of the old with some architectural elements from the Firestone family, including the bronze and marble grand staircase which has been rebuilt into the OAG’s main lobby.

There will also be two rooftop terraces, a  multi-purpose room with retractable seating for 250 and a boardroom space.

“After many years of hard work, we are nearing the end of a journey and I wish to thank all that have contributed to the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion. We are very much looking forward to the opening the OAG Expansion this April and welcoming artists, partners, Ottawa and the world,” said Alexandra Badzak, the gallery director and CEO.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.